I am not a fan of cold weather in general. I wear layers – I mean two pairs of pants – at least December through February and often longer. Yet, I discovered last year that I really enjoy winter running, maybe even more than running in the summer. Running in falling snow is beautiful and peaceful. Since your body is working more while jogging, I’ve found I am more warm than when I walk the dog wearing more layers and heavy clothing. My friend just purchased some Lululemon gear he says is extremely warm; I would love to review it for you, but it is outside my price range. Luckily, it should cost very little to outfit yourself to run all winter long.
The best place to start with any running list is the shoes. I wear regular running shoes. You will just want to ensure that they have sufficient support and traction as you will likely be running on slick or uneven ground. If you run with your dog, you may want to leave him or her at home unless they are well-trained or unable to pull you, or you may end up being pulled off your path due to the slick snow or ice. I have run a 5k with a Great Dane, but he outweighs me and is too excitable for more than winter walks.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that two pairs of socks are necessary, even if one of them is a great fleece pair. I generally match a thinner pair of socks with a thicker pair.
Occasionally, sweat pants are enough; however I prefer a fleece-lined windbreaker pair of pants. If it is extra cold, a pair of thermals, Cuddl Duds, or leggings can be layered underneath.
A t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt under a sweatshirt is generally enough. The pocket in a hooded sweatshirt provides a place to store house keys, iPod, and fleece gloves or mittens if they need to be removed.
A fleece scarf wrapped around your mouth and nose will help warm the air before it hits your lungs. It is an essential piece of your winter running attire. Wrap-around earmuffs provide a great way to keep your earbuds in place, but ears can be covered with your scarf or hat too. I have also found that a hat is not necessary if your ears are covered, but it can’t hurt if you have a pocket in which to store it if you become too warm.
It is important that you can see any obstacles in your path, so if you wear contacts or glasses don’t forget them while running. Snow can reflect a lot of light, so you may find sunglasses helpful.
Bundle up and I think you will find even a few short cold-weather runs will keep winter claustrophobia at bay.
December 20th, 2010